Stygian: Reign of the Old Onesby Aethyna Oct 22, 2019 | 1 Votes | 23 Played | 0 Reviews 9 rate Trapped in Arkham, a city that's seemingly transported by a mysterious figure known as the Dismal Man to the despair and horror-filled “Other” realm, you are determined to investigate the many strange occurrences within the city, track down the man, and maybe... just maybe... you might be able to escape from this hellhole. Play Now Similar Games Played
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Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones is a Lovecraftian-themed, story-driven adventure RPG that’s set in the city of Arkham; a city that has been transported by some mysterious power from the real world to the “Other” realm that’s enveloped by the despair-filled shadow of the Awakened.
In this game, you play as one of the still-sane “survivors” of Arkham who is determined to find out what happened by tracking down the mysterious figure known as the Dismal Man. Maybe, just maybe… he will be able to show you a way to escape from the hellhole you’re currently trapped in!
One day, out of the blue, the city of Arkham was ripped from the real world and transported by a mysterious and ominous force into the “Other” realm, a world that’s enveloped by the shadow of the Awakened which cast upon the city a suffocating blanket of dread and despair.
Some residents of the city couldn’t take the sudden change and lost their sanity, turning into dangerous raving lunatics that had to be kept at bay or cultists who perform regular blood sacrifices and Satanic rituals. Others were kept in check by the mob that has rapidly taken over the city in the chaos that ensued after what was dubbed as the Black Day.
In this game, you are one of the survivors of Arkham who somehow managed to hold onto your sanity and have not gotten yourself killed yet. However, you are also among the few people within the city who have seen the mysterious “Dismal Man”, a figure whom you think maybe behind all of this chaos and possibly the only person who can help you escape from this hellhole.
With jaws set in determination, you will need to track this man down using whatever means necessary and you can start doing so by investigating the strange occurrences that are happening throughout the city.
The storytelling in Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones is nothing short of fantastic. It not only offers an overarching story of trying to hunt down the Dismal Man but also several “side stories” that you can uncover by helping the locals or choosing the correct dialogue. The Lovecraftian theme is also very strong in this game, featuring such elements like cultists, mobsters, depravity, insanity, and an overall looming sense of foreboding and hopelessness.
When it comes to the gameplay, Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones has a pretty impressive start. The character creation process in this game is incredibly in-depth and detailed, and every bit of decision you make here may affect how your gameplay will turn out later on. You’ll get to choose your character’s gender and even his/her starting age. Depending on your choices, you may get different dialogue options and also stats.
Once you’re done with the basics, you’ll then get to give your character a backstory. The game offers up to 8 main archetypes to choose from, ranging from Academic to Investigator and even to Criminal and Occultist. Each archetype also comes with 4 different backgrounds, or as I like to call them… “sub-archetypes”, that will tweak the general archetype to something more refined. You can go with the default background or you can opt for a background that has the extra stats like better Speechcraft or Sex appeal, but these extra stats usually comes with a small cost. It’s pretty much a fair give-and-take if you ask me!
After choosing an archetype, you’ll then get to choose a Belief system, which determines which in-game behavior will restore your sanity points. There are several to choose from, though you might want to try to match the beliefs with the archetype you’ve chosen. After all, some belief systems do work better with specific archetypes, like opting for rational thinking will be beneficial to a science/facts-oriented archetype rather than say an Occultist.
There are plenty of avatars for you to choose from next, and once you’re done with that, you’ll then be able to allocate points into the attributes and skills you want. Personally, I’d suggest picking Speechcraft just because it will make things a whole lot easier in the game. You’ll be able to easily gain more experience points and hence level up faster, by being able to successfully uncover more dialogue options or talk your way out of trouble, and you may even get to get a nice discount from vendors in the game.
Not to mention, if you like the idea of getting more loot, I’d recommend grabbing Subterfuge. You’ll still need to find or buy some lockpicks in the game before you can pick any locks, but at least you have the skillset needed to use said lockpicks.
Being an RPG, Stygian places a lot of emphasis on questing. Aside from the main story questline, you can pick up many other side quests by simply talking to the right people. Some of these quests can only be obtained by special encounters as you’re traveling from location to location within the city, and that is why there’s no option for you to just “teleport” to a location via the map.
The game has a bit of a point-and-click mechanism going for it as well, allowing you to right-click on objects to bring up a radial wheel that’s filled with actions that you can take. You can also “look at” stuff or buildings to have it described, in text form, to you.
Similarly, the dialogues in this game are also the core of the game, and what you say matters here and may have consequences. That is why, although you might want to exhaust all dialogue options available to you, you might want to reconsider choosing certain dialogue options because it may shut down the conversation entirely or you may accidentally anger the mob boss or the cult for that matter. Trust me, getting “Marked” in this game is no fun!
There are also times in this game where you’ll need to put your combat skills to the test. Stygian uses a pretty standard turn-based combat system where you’ll get a fixed number of action points to use and the goal here is to defeat your enemies. However, there’s a couple of interesting twists here.
For starters, the game allows you to flee from combat at the cost of your sanity by moving all your pieces to the “Flee combat” tiles that are clearly marked out on the grid. There are also “instant win” tiles, which are described by the tutorial as being an “escape from battle option that will allow you to make progress in the storyline”, plus you’ll get the same amount of exp as in a victorious fight.
Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones is a pretty dark game, and thankfully, you won’t need to face the Lovecraftian horrors in this game alone. You can recruit up to two AI-controlled companions to your team, including the pet dog you get when you start the game. These companions aren’t just there for show and will be able to pitch in during combat.
As mentioned before, sanity is also a pretty important survival stat in this game, in a way that’s similar to the game, Don’t Starve. You’ll lose sanity by witnessing horrifying moments while you can restore it by resting or choosing the correct dialogue options that match with your belief system.
The game has a trading and crafting system as well. You can trade stuff you don’t want with in-game vendors, though some vendors only accept certain items and not others, so you can’t really just dump everything on a single vendor sometimes. Crafting in this game is also pretty straightforward. You’ll need to have the formula before you can craft something, and you may need to use a crafting station, like the one in Richter’s Drug Store, to do your crafting.
As fun as the game is, Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones does have its fair share of downsides. The game doesn’t seem to have an autosave system but you can save when you exit the game. However, the most pressing issue about the game is its occasional freezes and crashes, usually when the game transitions between the in-game scene to the loading screen, and vice versa.
That being said, if the game freezes though, you might want to give the game some times to fix itself – that’s my personal experience at least. You might want to hold off from Alt+F4-ing the game just yet! Some players have also reported glitches but I didn’t encounter any so far.
Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones is a single-player experience so the game doesn’t have any social features or a co-op mode. However, you can still have fun discussing the game with your fellow players via the game’s Steam discussion forum.
In terms of graphics, Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones has some pretty fantastic ones. I absolutely love the art style, and dull colors do give the game a dark and gloomy look. The sound effects are simply superb here as well, and if you couple that with the visuals, you’ll get a pretty immersive, and creepy, atmosphere where you can feel like there’s a sense of dread that’s constantly hanging over your head. Sometimes, I might even get chills.
Despite being a horror-themed game, Stygian doesn’t have any jump scares so far, which is a great thing in my opinion – Not sure if this is obvious enough, but I’m not a huge fan of jump scares.
All in all, Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones may not be a perfect adventure RPG but it does have plenty of stand-out moments. Both the storytelling and the pace are excellent so far, there is plenty to “see”, and the atmosphere is definitely spot-on. This is, without a doubt, an indie game that fans of Lovecraftian games would truly enjoy.
However, you should bear in mind that the game still has some issues like occasional freezes, crashes and possibly glitches, though I have not personally encountered any yet. Still, if you really liked the genre, these are merely minor annoyances that you can power through via persistence and patience, and at the end of the day, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the game is worth putting the additional effort in.